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February 2015

Two alumni nominated for Oscars

(29 January 2015)

Former student Orlando Von Einsiedel’s documentary Virunga has been nominated for an Academy Award. Orlando studied Social Anthropology in the School of Social Sciences before beginning his career as a journalist and film maker.

His film documents and raises awareness about the vital social, political and ecological issues currently facing The Virunga National Park in Eastern Congo. Virunga is among the world’s most bio-diverse environments and home to the planet’s last remaining mountain gorillas. It is also the site of intense conflicts between conservationists, armed militia, poachers, M23 rebels and multi-national oil and mineral companies. The film has had widespread support from David Attenborough and was executive produced by Leonardo DiCaprio.

Orlando is scheduled to run a film-making workshop for students on the MA in Visual Anthropology and, to celebrate his remarkable achievement, the University will be holding an open screening of Virunga in March 2015 which Orlando will attend.

Maia Green, Head of Social Anthropology, said: "Orlando was an outstanding student  who was wholly committed to understanding more about the world. He had a long-standing passion for film and made several films about snowboarding, a sport in which he excelled. He was an engaging, lively and enthusiastic member of the department and we are extremely proud of his achievements."

In addition, Benedict Cumberbatch, who studied Drama at the University, has also been nominated for an Oscar in the best actor category. His nomination is for his portrayal of The University of Manchester scientist Alan Turning in The Imitation Game. The film portrays Turing’s life during the Second World War when he was a key figure in cracking the enigma code.

The awards will be announced on 22 February 2015.

See a trailer and clips of Orlando’s documentary.